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Associate Professor Geoffrey Will | Queensland University of Technology, Australia

Vision for Corrosion Management

Abstract

The management of corrosion in the last 10-15 years is very much front of mind for both aging and new infrastructure and has been identified as a major cost across all industries. The utilisation of past, present and future data to predict corrosion can better allow financial planning, work force planning, redundancy, inspections and even decisions on end of life. Currently, a number of technologies can be employed to sense corrosion and in conjunction with available models can give corrosion rates. In conjunction regular inspections, which may involve NDT, provide a rich data set of the structural health of an asset. This data is valuable information but may not have standardised metrics or the financial implications and as a result often gets used as a tool to identify a corrosion issue potentially ignoring the bigger picture. Using historical maintenance data, sensor outputs and inspection information along with the financial implications of repair can provide a unique management tool for current decisions and future planning. This paper will discuss the use of various information sources for the development of better asset management planning its implication on documentation, decision making and sensing requirements.

Biography

Assoc. Prof. Will initially started his career as a physical chemist investigating various solar cell technologies and materials. These included dye sensitised solar cells and thin film technologies. However and invitation to a QLD ACA meeting changed this direction and he has spent the last 20 years researching and designing solutions for industry in the area of corrosion prediction and monitoring. Assoc. Prof. Will’s group has developed techniques to monitor coating breakdown and inform decisions on time to maintenance. These solutions have been employed to better understand corrosion in a variety of environments such as under insulation, atmospheric, pile wraps, military infrastructure, bridges and civil infrastructure and other areas where inspection can be difficult if not prohibited.

Assoc. Prof. Will has carried on the long history of corrosion research at QUT specifically related to industry problems. He has published 111 papers in the area of materials and electrochemistry and regularly consults to over 50 companies. The corrosion work is supported through government and private industry funding and is targeted at the understanding and prevention corrosion related issues. Our group studies basic corrosion mechanisms using theoretical models to understand and predict corrosion behaviour. In house software, Symadec, has been developed to teach students from postgraduate to undergraduate about the electrochemistry of corrosion systems for a better understanding of the observed electrochemistry. This system can generate Pourbaix and Evans diagrams and fit the theoretically derived results to real data.

Applied work has been directed toward the monitoring and prediction of corrosion with recent activities centred on the use of corrosion models and asset management to determine cost effective maintenance plans for defence and civil infrastructure. Recently the QUT group in partnership with others has begun the investigation of corrosion in solar thermal power plants. This relatively new area has provided many challenges dealing with environments such as molten sodium, super critical carbon dioxide and molten salts at temperatures in excess of 700°C.